US Army Approves Northrop Grumman CIRCM Systems

By Frank Savage, The Chicago Times

February 10, 2023

ROLLING MEADOWS, IL – Northrop Grumman Corporation announced that its Common Infrared Countermeasures (CIRCM) system has achieved Initial Operational Capability (IOC) which the U.S. Army has demonstrated the ability to field, employ, and maintain CIRCM in significant quantities on its rotary wing platforms. 

Northrop Grumman believes this milestone advances the accelerated fielding of CIRCM systems on more than 1,500 Army aircraft including UH-60M, HH-60M, CH-47F, and AH-64Es.  After thousands of hours of rigorous testing in laboratory, flight, and live-fire tests, the U.S. Army has approved early fielding of the Northrop Grumman-built CIRCM system.

“CIRCM’s ability to track and rapidly defeat infrared-guided threats has been validated over thousands of hours of rigorous testing in laboratory, flight and live-fire test environments.  Achieving IOC was made possible by the entire team’s dedication and our strong partnership with the Army. Together we’ll provide U.S. Army aircrews with CIRCM’s unmatched threat protection.” said Bob Gough, vice president, navigation, targeting and survivability, Northrop Grumman.

Northrop Grumman’s CIRCM protects against shoulder-fired and vehicle-launched anti-aircraft missiles that home in on the heat signature of an aircraft.  The system is designed to help ensure aircrew survivability to focus on the mission.

CIRCM’s reduced weight and increased power will inform future attack reconnaissance aircraft  and future long-range assault aircraft requirements, making this a vital life-saving technology and a key enabler for Multi-Domain Operations and advancements in Army modernization.

CIRCM’s modular open systems approach works with existing hardware, simplifies upgrades, and keeps lifecycle costs low to provide flexibility and a solid platform to build upon in the future. Northrop Grumman will continue to develop and improve CIRCM to overmatch current and future threats. One upgrade in testing is an enhanced laser Line Replaceable Unit which will increase capability against near-peer threats.

Currently, Northrop Grumman has delivered over 250 CIRCM systems to the Army and over 100 aircraft have been equipped. 

Abbott Acquires Cardiovascular Systems, Inc.

By Grant McCormick, The Chicago Times

February 9, 2023

ABBOTT PARK, IL – Abbott announced on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to acquire medical device company Cardiovascular Systems, Inc.  CSI owns rights to an innovative atherectomy system used in treating peripheral and coronary artery disease. 

According to the agreement CSI stockholders will receive $20 per common share at a total expected equity value of approximately $890 million.

CSI leads the industry in devices for atherectomy, a minimally invasive treatment for plaque build-up in arteries that can restrict blood flow.  Procedural use of atherectomy can maximize the benefits of standard balloon angioplasty or stent treatments in restoring blood flow for patients with heart disease.  

“The acquisition of CSI will add new, complementary technologies to Abbott’s leading vascular device offerings.  CSI has a talented and experienced team and a leading atherectomy system that will allow Abbott to provide physicians more tools to help patients live fuller lives.” said Lisa Earnhardt, executive vice president, Medical Devices, Abbott.

“We are pleased to have reached an agreement with a leading global company that shares our passion for the development and commercialization of innovative solutions for treating complex peripheral vascular disease and coronary artery disease.  We believe combining with Abbott delivers value to our patients, physician customers, employees and stockholders while continuing our work to save limbs and save lives every day.” said Scott Ward, CSI’s chairman, president and chief executive officer.

The transaction has been approved by the board of directors of both CSI and Abbott, but is subject to the approval of CSI stockholders and regulators.

Boeing to Retain ICBM Guidance Contract

By Grant McCormick, The Chicago Times

February 6, 2023

ARLINGTON, VA – Boeing has been chosen by the United States Air Force as the prime contractor for the nation’s intercontinental ballistic missile guidance subsystems support.

Boeing announced the contract is worth up to $1.6 billion over 16 years and will be primarily performed in Ogden, Utah, and Heath, Ohio.  Boeing will be in charge of maintaining “around-the-clock” readiness and accuracy of Minuteman ICBM guidance systems, which has been in continuous operation for more than 40 million hours.

An Air Force Global Strike Command unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test at 12:53 Pacific Time Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021, at Vandenberg Space Force Base, Calif. ICBM test launches demonstrate that the U.S. ICBM fleet is relevant, essential and key to leveraging dominance in an era of Strategic Competition. (U.S. Space Force photo by Michael Peterson)

“We built the Minuteman’s guidance system, so no one knows it like Boeing. Our highly-specialized facilities and top-flight engineers enable us to sustain it with unmatched quality and precision.  We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Air Force on this all-important mission.”  said Ted Kerzie, program director of Strategic Deterrence Systems.

Boeing’s ICBM weapon system has served as the backbone of the U.S. nuclear triad since the inception of strategic deterrence.  In addition, Boeing has been the only company that has continuously supported every ICBM subsystem over the lifetime of the system.

Newmont Seeks to Acquire Newcrest

By John McPhaul, The Chicago Times

February 6, 2023

DENVER – Newmont Corporation announced Sunday that has submitted a non-binding proposal to acquire 100% of the issued share capital of Newcrest Mining Limited by way of a scheme of arrangement.  Newmont proposes to combine two of the sector’s top senior gold producers.

According to a press release, Newmont’s proposal to combine with Newcrest is on the basis of 0.380 Newmont shares per Newcrest share, which would result in the combined company being 30 percent owned by Newcrest and 70 percent owned by Newmont.

However, Newmont’s proposal will be subject to certain customary conditions, including due diligence to the satisfaction of both parties, entry into a scheme implementation agreement, and a recommendation from the Newcrest Board of Directors that Newcrest shareholders vote in favor of the proposal.

“We believe a combination of Newmont and Newcrest presents a powerful value proposition to our respective shareholders, workforce and the communities in which we operate,” said Tom Palmer, President and CEO of Newmont. “The proposed transaction would join industry-leading portfolios of assets and projects to create long-term value across the combined global business, and we welcome the consideration of Newcrest’s Board of Directors.”

Newmont and its Board of Directors advises shareholders need not take any action at this time as there can be no certainty that a transaction will be completed.  Newmont has engaged Banl of America Securities, Centerview Partners LLC, and Lazard as its financial advisers, and King & Wood Mallesons and White & Case LLP as its legal advisers.

Australia Orders 40 UH-60M Black Hawks

By Jack Beringer, The Chicago Times

February 04, 2023

STRATFORD, CT – Australia announced Friday it will acquire 40 Sikorsky UH-60M Black Hawks from Sikorsky Aircraft, a Lockheed Martin company.  The deal between the Australian and United States governments is expected to be worth about $1.95 billion with deliveries to begin early this year.

UH-60M Black Hawk. Photo: Lockheed.

“The multi-mission UH-60M Black Hawk provides the Australian Army with critical capabilities that will strengthen Australia’s readiness, interoperability and security for decades to come,” said Sikorsky President Paul Lemmo. “We continue to invest in Black Hawk modernization to provide operators with the competitive edge they require to counter and deter threats today and in future Joint All-Domain Operations.”

The UH-60M Black Hawks is expected to replace Australia’s current non-Black Hawk helicopter fleet.

“We have proudly sustained Australia’s Black Hawk fleet for decades.  This experience coupled with Lockheed Martin and Sikorsky’s investment in our Australian team and local facilities strongly positions us to support the Australian Army’s operational and maintenance needs.” said Nathalie Previte, Sikorsky’s vice president of Army and Air Force programs.

According to Sikorsky: “the Black Hawk is unmatched for durability, survivability, multi-role versatility, affordability and interoperability, and has proven to be a dependable battlefield and special forces aviation asset for Australia and 34 other countries around the globe.”

The UH-60M helicopter is said to be the culmination of decades of technological advancement, improved performance and real-world operational experience.

The US Army recently announced that it has picked the Bell V-280 to replace the Black Hawk within the next ten years.